Friday, 11 July 2014

In the beginning (a bit of history)

My interest in Railways goes back 55 years this year, when I was a snotty nosed kid in short trousers and school cap!
I've come a long way since then of course, but, it's nice to look back at my long term hobby and reflect on some of the changes that I have seen and gone through.

Back in 1955 of course steam was still the main motive power on British Railways and my early "Train Spotting" days were spent alongside the "Old Worse and Worse" (Oxford Worcester & Wolverhampton Railway) at some of the local stations including Stourbridge Junction, Brierley Hill and Round Oak.
There was quite a group of us at the time and we all met up after school or at weekends at Brierley Hill station complete with our notebooks, pencils and Ian Allan ABC books.

Brierley Hill was well off the main London-Wolverhampton route but was well known for it's variety of motive power, The only class of engine of note that never used the line in those days were the GW Kings.
There were Castles, Halls, Granges, Counties and of course Pannier tanks a plenty!
Traffic was mostly Freight and Parcels but the one thing I remember most was the pigeon baskets full of homing pigeons waiting to move south for a race or training.
The station was never busy for passenger traffic and closed under the Beeching axe in 1962.
The line itself is still open today but truncated at Round Oak Steel terminal about a mile or so looking in the direction of the above picture.In fact it is treated as just a 5 mile long siding from Stourbridge Junction.

My first ever "Train set" was a present from my grand parents and was this one...
It is of course a Tri-ang Princess Elizabeth with two coaches an oval of track and a siding.
The controller was battery powered using two 6 volt lantern batteries and had 4 speed settings,
Two speeds in either direction, either slow or very fast! Needless to say it didn't get used to often as the cost of new batteries in those days was horrendous!                                                                                                The locomotive of course is actually nothing like the real thing! it was far too small for a start, but, at the age of 10 or 11 I didn't know that of course, and to me at the time it was the bees knees and the latest thing in modern technology!  

So there in a nutshell  is a brief outline of how I came to be interested in steam railways and railway modelling. Now retired (and back into my second childhood)   I'm still at it and that is what this blog is all about!
I'll put a bit more "history"   up on here soon!



  1. Hi Frank,

    Gosh your post certainly brought back some memories for I too started off with the same trainset but my coaches were in blood and custard.

    If I remember correctly the controller was clamped on top of the batteries and as you say they were very expensive. Needless to say a transformer / controller was quickly purchased!

  2. It's really nice to hear how people get started in this hobby. You are right, locos were nothing like the real thing, but back then most people had an imagination and could use it to good effect. I had a Hornby clockwork set and my dear aunt very sweetly used to let me run it in her front room and helped me make tunnels out of cushions...happy days!